Sunday, March 28, 2010

Out Spotlight CVXXX

Today's Out Spotlight is the first recorded gay establishment in North America.

Must be be in New York? San Francicso? Chicago? No it's Montreal. And it was in 1869. Thirty years before the word homosexual was in the vernacular.

The first recorded gay establishment in North America was Montrealer Moise Tellier's "apples and cake shop" on Craig Street, which is now rue St-Antoine, in Old Montreal where men met and had sex. Today there is Le Village/The Village one of the largest gay communities in North America.

But back then anyone outside of the loop had to be extremely careful about where they would hook up. It was the summer of 1891 when Montreal police arrested of William Robinson and William Looney for having sex by the fort on Ile-Ste-Helene, according to police records.

"William Robinson was on his back with his pants down his legs and his shirt lifted above his chest," the arresting officer wrote in his deposition. "Looney also had his pants pulled down and shirt pushed up and was lying on top of Robinson. Their private parts were touching and they were making up-and-down movements. They continued to do this for 10 minutes."

Moise Tellier's was somewhere that was more discreet for men to meet other men, and less of a risk of being arrested by the police for "lewd acts". The Colonial Baths/Bain Colonial Baths, the city’s oldest bathhouse, opened in 1914, adding to the few other gay establishments in that area of Old Montreal.

The fact that all gays and lesbians did not internalize the dominant culture's view of them as sick, perverted and immoral went a long way to helping establish a community in Montreal. Montreal had long been a gateway for people, much like New York for over 300 years, a place where from no matter you came from, you could find a place for you there. One reason that there was thriving nightlife in Montreal, both gay and straight was that Montreal was a major entertainment capital, second to only New York and ahead of Chicago on the vaudeville circuit, and the city was still wide open to gambling, boozing and carousing during American prohibition.

In the 1920s, gay people began to congregate in Montreal’s downtown establishments, centred around the corner of Stanley and St.-Catherine streets in the west. For decades, this area remained the epicentre of gay life—through the Second World War and into the late 1970s. “The Village was from Peel to Atwater ,” recounts George, a long-time bartender at Mystique (1424 Stanley), one of the last holdouts from times past. “Now people call that ‘the old Village.’” Lesbian venues could be found along St-Denis, and a few other gay spots were clustered on St.-Laurent, with one or two stragglers in the Centre-Sud area.

Popular myth has it that the mayor at the time, Jean Drapeau, instituted a mass purge of downtown gay establishments to “clean up” the city for the 1976 Olympics. But in fact, it wasn’t until 1984 that the gay bars moved east en masse to the Centre-Sud area, and then it was mainly for financial reasons, as business-minded bar owners realized that the downtown core was becoming too expensive.

But it wasn’t all economics that had the gay bars and clubs moving out of downtown. I It was a political history-making time for GLBT's in Montreal. In October 1977, Montreal ’s very own Stonewall took place in the form of a massive raid on Mystique and the now-defunct Truxx, during which 144 men were arrested. The next day over 2,000 people showed up to protest. Riding the energy of the demonstration, an anti-repression committee jumped into political action. By December 15, bill 88 was voted into law, making Quebec the second society in the world (after Denmark) to forbid discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. This set the stage for a strong community to develop and support its own.

A handful of gay establishments remain in the downtown core, but the center of queer life and nearly 100 gay and lesbian establishments, now mainly centered along Ste-Catherine Street between St-Hubert and Dorion streets. The Village is centered on Beaudry metro station, and on Amherst Street in the Ville-Marie borough. It runs approximately from Berri Street to De Lorimier Street on Saint Catherine Street, and between Sherbrooke Street and René-Lévesque Boulevard on Amherst Street, a distance of nearly two kilometres. The Village is now one of the largest gay neighborhoods in the world, the largest in North America and its principal metro station, Beaudry, proudly bears the colors of the gay community.

The Village's lively nightlife is complemented by a high level of daytime energy, when the streets of The Village hustle and bustle with employees from nearby radio and TV production houses. It boast a wide variety restaurants, entertainment and bars, from upscale pubs to leather clubs, from women-only bar to the city’s renowned nude dancer bars. As well, hosts the Bad Boy Club’s seasonal circuit parties, including the mega-Black and Blue Party each October and the Hot & Dry in May.

But its not just bars, clubs and parties that make up The Village. It a vibrant community of shop owners, workers, residents, commuters, and artists, filled with culture, activities, sports and recreation geared to gays and lesbians throughout the year. Including every September, the Image & Nation, every September, is the oldest and largest queer film festival in Canada and Divers/Cité’s Queer Pride parade, with over 800,000 participants, which now outdraws the entire city’s historic St. Patrick’s and Saint-Jean Baptiste Day parades.

The Village remains the heart of, and service center for, Montreal's LGBT's community starting a hundred and 140 years ago with one shop.

We believe that differences should enrich instead of divide.
We believe in freedom, the real one, the one that must sometimes be obtained through the debate of ideas. We believe that freedom is what renews and allows people to grow. We want to be one of its mosaics
.



The Village/Le Village

32 comments:

WoW said...

How fascinating - beautiful Spotlight! :)

Jersey Tom said...

I have always wanted to visit Montreal. I did drive by one time on my way to a vacation in Quebec City which is also very beautiful and friendly.

WoW said...

Fascinating Spotlight - just beautiful! :)

WoW said...

Oops, forgive the double post - I think my computer is having problems today. :)

prairiegirl said...

Enjoyed that spotlight, special. I'd love to see that village. I really enjoyed when Wicked took us to DuPont Circle area in D.C. It was fantastic.

Uh, I really enjoyed that policeman's report. ;)

Destiny, Mexican bread is different kinds of pastries. Alot of filled things, alot of sugar sprinkled things, alot of yeast, lol! But mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.

I know, Tom! Wildcats died. OH well, that's the way it goes. It got a little exciting there for awhile but then Butler pulled away.

prairiegirl said...

I had a friend tell me something woefully sad last night that's also as sweet as it is sad.

She was shopping for school supplies to give to a teacher friend who had a daughter serving in Afghanistan. The daughter is teaching over there and was requesting from her mom if she could get school supplies, especially pens or pencils. She remarked that she had never had such a hard time holding onto her pens because the children were just fascinated with them and wanted them all the time. And when she asked someone what was the big deal about a pen and why did everyone want her pen whenever they saw it, it was because over there the children were equating owning a pen with having an education.

Does that break your heart or what?
A simple, taken for granted thing like a ballpoint pen or a 2-lead pencil cherished by some little kid because it made them feel like they could have an education, too.

The daughter then also went on to say that she knew of a 40 year old man who was learning to read for the first time. On his breaks from work, he used that time to practice reading.

I asked where on earth in Afghanistan this girl was but my friend said she didn't know because being in the military, they aren't ever allowed to say.

new interview said...

Jake talks about Brothers, growing up, Heath ...

ALIVE Sydney interview

oz said...

The interview isn't new, it was done in Dec. 2009 during a news conference with the foreign press.

m said...

Montreal is one of those cities I've always wanted to visit too. I bought a Frommer's travel guide for it once, with the expectation of going, but then went elsewhere instead. I'll get there yet. I still have the guide book in my closet.

Jersey Tom said...

Yeah so what was the lot that happened to him during the making of this movie. He broke up with his beloved reese? He is fill of crap. He said the same thing during BBM interviews when asked about Kiki.

Well he spoke Heaths name and the world didnt come to an end. He kept it pretty profesional and spoke nothing on a personal level. The way he speaks you would think they were not very close.

Speak whats in ur heart Jake. Do you have this stuff written on your palm ala Sarah Palin.

new interview said...

The interview is new because it was just published.

Oz, please give us the link for "it was done in Dec. 2009".

A lot of things happened in my life while I was making this movie said...

"Brothers" was filmed end of 2007 - beginning of 2008.

Jersey Tom said...

So what happened in life then. Did he become a Dad. Why dont he say it.

oz said...

Heath died during the making of Brothers Tom, that's what he meant.

Jake nor any other actor would be doing interviews 3 months after it's release. The interview was probably done the first week in dec. 2009 when he was in L.A. doing promo. The reason why we are hearing about it now is because Brothers was released in Oz and that interviewer was Australian. He had a press conference with the foreign press only at the 4 seasons hotel in L.A. in Dec. There was no overseas promo for this film so the bits and pieces are meant to fill in the gap and released depending on what country it's opening up at.

You wouldn't think Heath was dead from the response.

oz said...

Geez you are dense Tom.His "relationship" with Reese started to really "heat-up" during the filming of Brothers: 11/07 - 2/08, pics of him reese and her kidsw, visiting each others movie sets, etc. Heath died and his Grandmother became very ill during filming as well (she died in April).

In other words he "grew-up" although I think he is still immature.
IMO there is no BT.

prairiegirl said...

Great game between Baylor and Duke.

Rooting for Baylor!!! Sorry, Tom!

destiny said...

I've been wanting to go to Montreal for awhile now, but now it really sounds great. Didn't realize it had so much gay history. It's fun to read about a place for a change of pace from the biographies (which I love too).

silly babblers said...

Geez you are dense Tom.His "relationship" with Reese started to really "heat-up" during the filming of Brothers: 11/07 - 2/08, pics of him reese and her kidsw, visiting each others movie sets, etc. Heath died and his Grandmother became very ill during filming as well (she died in April).

In other words he "grew-up" although I think he is still immature.
IMO there is no BT.


Trolly, stop playing dumb

irk said...

"The interview isn't new, it was done in Dec. 2009 during a news conference with the foreign press."

It's "new" because it hasn't been seen before. Grasping at straws much?.

ted said...

Dear Ted:
You said that Reese and Jake's relationship ended quicker than expected, but who expected it to last longer? Can you elaborate for us?
—Rainbaby

Dear Nice Guys Get Screwed:
It was Jake. He was pretty impressed with how Reese changed things around (on her own accord). I wasn’t!


Dear Ted:
Recently I was watching A Knights Tale and it made me start wondering about Heath Ledger, I'm guessing that he had a BV back in the day, is that right? Is it one that is ever talked about anymore?
—Allsmilesr

Dear Ledger Patrol:
It involved both sex and drugs. It’ll probably be in the book.


Dear Ted:
Mom of three rescue cats, all four of us love the goss. This may have been asked before: Do you suppose celebs themselves send messages and comment on stories anonymously?
—Morgan

Dear Nice Mommy:
Do stray cats like to hump?

Bitch Back

Special K said...

Wow, didn't see that coming from Ted about the breakup. I admit I got that one really wrong.

Wonder if Reese got tired of her numbers dropping blamed Jake for it and dropped him like a hot rock.

But the best thing about the break up was that Jake is better for it. More relaxed more himself again. Even if nice guys get screwed, it was the best thing for him in this case.

nah said...

I admit I got that one really wrong.

I'm sure Ted is wrong.

Ted is wrong said...

Reese ending the showmance would be anything BUT "nice guys get screwed".

Remember yogurt pictures - Jake didn't give a shit about beard's "family" photo op.

Special K said...

I do wonder if he was under the impression that Reese was changing her ways after what she pulled with the yogurt and Jake was under the impression that she was not going to try and pull that stunt any more, and then she tried to pull on him again.

end of fauxmance said...

Reese being the one who ended the contract doesn’t mean that Jake wasn’t fed up and hated the fauxmance. I think that Jake had to continue Reeke until PoP release, even if he detested it. Something happened that the Chin ended it before it was expected. Maybe it was because she realised Jake wasn’t doing his part and this is why she ended it in the worst timing for Jake as revenge.

destiny said...

All the things Ted has been saying lately about Jake/Toothy contradicts so much of what Ted said a few months back. What about that meltdown story? Or does it have to do with ending right before Brothers?

ending the showmance said...

The timing was right for Jake - Brothers promotion without the beard to turn it into her tabloid bullshit.

end of fauxmance said...

Maybe the Chin decided to end the fauxmance before it was time because Jake wasn't reliable anymore to do his part in it. I don't think Ted is contradicting himself. He is adding information.

Special K said...

It's not that I 'm saying that Jake didn't hate the fauxmance. I think he did, he really did. Look how much better he looked after it was over.

I think he thought that he would be the one who would call it off, and she beat him to the punch. I don't think he saw that one coming because he thought she wanted press from the fauxmance.

Special K said...

The timing with Brothers was interesting, maybe she did it to f' up his promotion for the movie.

fauxmance said...

Reese using Jake and "Brothers" for tabloid self promotion would be bad.

PoP promotion - much, much worse.

destiny said...

I always thought Reeke would last through Pop, and that it was tied to that movie, so maybe you're right end of fauxmance. Jake not cooperating, Reese tired of all the nasty comments about her that came from Jake's fans. Maybe that's why we got that kind of lame comment about his girlfriends kids during Brothers promotion--a half-hearted effort to show Reese he would do more?

It would also explain Jake's people denying he was at the charity event that they probably thought was too gay for his image.